Thoughts on the Weekly Parshah by HaRav Eliezer Chrysler
Formerly Rav of Mercaz Ahavat Torah, Johannesburg

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Vol. 10   No. 41

This issue is sponsored l'iluy Nishmas
Reb Yisrael ben Binyamin z.l.
by his son
Shimshon Krell n.y. bi. ha

Parshas Pinchas


Many explanations are given as to why the Torah inserts Parshas ha'Tamid in this Sedra, rather than in Emor, together with the Korbanos that are listed there. After all, the Or ha'Chayim points out, the Tamid was brought from the time that the Mishkan was set up, so why did the Torah wait until here to discuss it?

According to the Medrash cited by the Or ha'Chayim, the Torah inserts the Tamid here to counter Yisrael's contention, that the Tamid was tied up with the travels in the desert, and that now that their travels were about to come to an end, so too, was the Korban Tamid. He himself suggests that it is to preclude Yehoshua (whose appointment the Torah has just recorded) from bringing the Korban Tamid on behalf of Yisrael. Therefore the Torah begins the Parshah with the words "Command the B'nei Yisrael", indicating that the Korban Tamid must come out of public funds and not out of Yehoshua's pocket, despite the fact that in certain regards, Yehoshua did have the status of a community.


The Ramban explains that the Torah chose to insert the Tamid here, because two major items were missing from the Korban Tamid that had been brought until now. First of all, they did not bring the Musaf on Shabbos and Yom-tov, and second of all, the Korban did not include the Nesachim (the drink-offerings together with their accessories). Both of these would become an intrinsic part of the Korban Tamid only after they entered Eretz Yisrael. That is why the Torah waited until it had begun dealing with the division of Eretz Yisrael (and the appointment of Yehoshua, who was to lead the nation into the Land) before presenting the Korban Tamid in full.


Rashi too, deals with the initial question, by alluding to a Mashal of the Sifri. Based on Moshe's forceful request that G-d should appoint a leader to succeed him, the Sifri compares this to a dying princess who began issuing instructions to her husband, to look after their children upon her death. Her husband however, suggested that it would be more appropriate to instruct their children to respect him. A father after all, loves his children more that the children love him (as is well-known), and instructing him not to relinquish their children was unnecessary. A far greater purpose would be served, by warning the children not to take advantage of their mother's departure by becoming lax in respecting their father.

Likewise here, Moshe did not need to instruct G-d how to look after Yisrael, whom He loved no less than a father loves his children. G-d therefore suggested that it would be more appropriate to warn Yisrael not to take advantage of his (Moshe's) death, by showing disrespect towards their Father in Heaven, by straying from the path that Moshe had taught them. Hence the Parshah of the Korban Tamid, which would bring them closer to G-d, as is inherent in the word 'Korban'.


The Torah Temimah cites the Torah ve'ha'Mitzvah, who elaborates further by establishing the reason of the Korban Tamid. The gravest danger that Yisrael were about to face upon entering Eretz Yisrael, was the fact that the Cana'anim were idolaters. Given the powerful tendency towards idolatry that dominated the world at that time, it was essential to counter that by replacing it with Avodas Hashem, in the form of Korbanos. And the need for that is borne out by the facts of subsequent history. Idolatry was indeed the prime cause of the destruction of the first Beis Hamikdash.

The most popular form of idolatry was sun-worship, and it was towards that end that the Torah instituted the Korban Tamid every morning and evening. That is why the Tamid was always Shechted opposite the sun (on the north-west side of the Mizbei'ach in the morning, and on the north-east, in the afternoon). This was to demonstrate that, whilst the nations of the world worshipped the sun each and every morning and evening, K'lal Yisrael were distancing themselves from it, and worshipping the one and only G-d.

The Torah ve'ha'Mitzvah cites another Medrash that if Moshe had taken Yisrael into Eretz Yisrael, he would have nullified the Yeitzer-ha'Ra for Avodah-Zarah. Yehoshua, on the other hand, did not have the power to do that. (Perhaps this is connected with what Chazal have said 'Moshe's face resembled the sun, Yehoshua's face resembled the moon'). And this reinforces the connection between the appointment of Yehoshua as Moshe's successor and the Korban Tamid, since it was precisely because Yehoshua succeeded Moshe that the Korban Tamid adopted such significance.


Parshah Pearls
(Adapted from the Ma'ayanah shel Torah)

Why Moshe Didn't Live Forever

Because Moshe did not exert himself to kill Zimri, says the Medrash, no one knows where he is buried.

What on earth has the one to do with the other, asks the Birchas ha'Shir?

And citing Rebbi Yehonoson, he gives the following answer.

The true reason that Moshe's burial-place is not known is in answer to the Apikorsim, who claim that it is impossible to believe the stories of Moshe's greatness. If Moshe really ascended to the Heaven to receive the Torah and spoke face to face with the Shechinah, then how come he died? Why did he not depart from this world alive, like Chanoch and Eliyahu ha'Navi. We must therefore conclude that Moshe made it up, and wrote it in the Torah in G-d's Name.

This argument however, is laughable. Had Moshe wanted to make up stories, then what was to stop him from writing that he ascended to Heaven and did not really die at all? The only possible objection to that would be that he was buried, and that his grave serves as eternal testimony to the falsehood of such a claim.

That is why the Torah testifies that his grave is unknown, in which case he really could have falsified the facts had he so wished, and written about his fictitious ascent to Heaven. This is an irrefutable proof that everything he wrote about himself was true.

But what will we then do with the Apikorsim's question? If Moshe really was so great, why did he not live forever? The answer is, because he did not exert himself to kill Zimri. Had he done so, he and not Pinchas (alias Eliyahu) would have been the one to earn G-d's covenant and peace; he would have been the one who ascended to Heaven in a fiery chariot. In any case, he did not exert himself. That is why he had to die, and that is why it was necessary to hide his burial-place, as the Medrash explains.


Pinchas' Legacy

"be'Kan'o es kin'osi be'socham" (25:11).

This might be translated to mean 'when he implanted My zealousy inside them', the Kotzker Rebbe and the S'fas Emes explain. If today, Yidden cannot tolerate the actions of sinners, it is because they inherited this trait from Pinchas.


The Deeds of Aharon

"Therefore say, behold I will give him a covenant of peace" (28:12).

It is lawful (ba'Din) for Pinchas to receive his reward (Medrash).

Rashi explains that the tribes were deriding him, because he was a descendant of Yisro. That is why the Torah saw fit to be Meyaches him after Aharon.

What is the point of doing that, ask the commentaries? Will it change the fact that he was a descendant of Yisro?

The Binyan Ariel cites a Gemara in Yuma (71), where the Kohen Gadol said to Sh'mayah and Avtalyon (the two Gedolei ha'Dor, who were also converts) 'Let the sons of Goyim come in peace'!

To which they replied 'Let the sons of Goyim, who behave like Aharon, come in peace, but don't let the sons of Aharon come in peace, who don't behave like Aharon'.

This Gemara teaches us that it is not the Yichus that counts, but what one does with it. It is not the descendants of Aharon who earn the life and the peace that was promised to Aharon, but rather those who behave like Aharon.

It may well be that Pinchas was a descendant of Yisro (the idolater). Be that as it may, when he deflected G-d's anger away from Yisrael, it was the Midos of Aharon that he was displaying, and so, at that moment, he was justly described as a descendant of Aharon, as that is what he truly was in every sense. That is why the Pasuk concludes "Therefore ... I will give him a covenant of peace".

That is why the Medrash says that it is lawful (ba'Din) for Pinchas to receive his reward.


When Else Should He Get Paid?

Chazal have said that generally speaking, we do not get paid for our good deeds, in this world. The reason for this, the commentaries explain, is because we are considered hired workers, who by law, only get paid at the end of the day. We too, only get paid at the end of our lives, when our working day ends. That may be true of most people, says the Kometz ha'Minchah, who receive payment for their good deeds, after their death, when they go to Olom ha'Ba.

But Pinchas didn't die! So when should he have received his reward if not immediately?

That is why the Medrash writes 'It is lawful for Pinchas to receive his reward'. It was lawful for him to receive his reward then, since there was nothing to wait for.


Pinchas Was Different

The reason that we do not receive reward in this world, explains the Degel Yehudah quoting the Chidushei ha'Rim, is because we are G-d's servants, who are anyway obligated to fulfil His every command. So on what grounds do we deserve reward? The fact that G-d does reward us at some stage is nothing less than a supreme act of chesed on His part, for which we must be extremely grateful. That is why the Pasuk says "And to You belongs Chesed, because You pay each person according to his deeds" (Tehilim 62:13).

Pinchas was different. Chazal have ruled with regard to someone who commits adultery with a gentile woman 'Halachah ve'ein morin kein (it is a Halachah, but not one that is taught', in which case it falls under the category of a voluntary act). Consequently, Pinchas was not obligated to do what he did.

That being the case, other people may well get paid for their good deeds as an act of Divine Chesed, but not Pinchas. He was fully entitled to receive his remuneration there and then.

That is why the Medrash writes 'It is lawful for Pinchas to receive his reward'. It was lawful for him to receive his reward then, for risking his life whilst under no obligation to do so.


Ladies First

"la'Chanoch, mishpachas ha'Chanochi... " (26:5).

The Pasuk attaches G-d's Name on each and every family, a 'Yud' at the and a 'Hey' at the beginning, Rashi explains, testimony that they were all the genuine children of their parents. With one sole exception, there were no cases of adultery with the Egyptians in K'lal Yisrael.

Chazal have said that the Shechinah dwells among husband and wife when they lead a pure and holy family life. That is why 'Ish' contains a 'Yud', and 'Ishah', a 'Hey'.

The women of that generation were on a higher level of Tz'niyus than the men, the K'li Yakar points out. This is evident from the fact that whereas, in Egypt, only one Jewish woman displayed a tendency towards immorality, the men in the desert stood outside their tents weeping, because incest had just become forbidden to them (Behalaloscha 11:10).

That explains, concludes the K'li Yakar, why, in the above hint, the 'Hey' precedes the 'Yud'.


Part 3
(based on the morning Korbanos, with the commentaries of Rashi on the Chumash and of the Sidur Iyun Tefilah)

The Parshah of Korban Tamid

The Tola'as Ya'akov explains the importance of Parshas ha'Tamid. The Parshah mentions the two lambs, one that is brought in the morning, corresponding to Midas ha'Rachamim, and the other, towards evening, corresponding to Midas ha'Din. Chazal instituted the recital of the Korbanos each day, so that someone who is obligated to bring a Korban may replace his obligation with the words of his mouth. In this way, he will attain his atonement even nowadays, when Korbanos are not actually sacrificed. However, even with regard to those Korbanos that do not come to atone, one should have in mind that his words are being said in place of the actual Korban.

Parshas ha'Tamid, Parshas Ketores and 'Eizehu Mekoman' must be said standing, after day-break. This is because a. all Avodah could only be performed standing, and b. because Korbanos could not be brought during the night.


es Korboni Lachmi le'Ishai

"es korboni" - this is the blood (which constitutes the most significant part of all Korbanos); "Lachmi" - refers to the limbs of the animal. "le'Ishai" - both of these must be placed on the Ma'arachah to be burned.


Rei'ach Ni'chochi

'A pleasant smell' - referring to the pleasure that G-d derives out of the Korbanos, since smell is the most spiritual of all the senses, as the very word 'Rei'ach' (with its connotations of 'Ruchniyus') implies. Nothing gives Hashem greater satisfaction than Yisrael fulfilling His commands - particularly, it seems, when it comes to the Korbanos.



This hints to the Mishmaros Kehunah, the twenty-four groups of Kohanim and Levi'im (as well as Yisre'elim, who represented the people, whilst their Korban was being brought). These groups served in rotation on a weekly basis. Based on this Pasuk, David and Shmuel initiated them, before the first Beis-Hamikdash was built.

We also learn from here the obligation to inspect the Korban for blemishes four days prior to its being sacrificed (like the Torah writes explicitly in Parshas Bo (in connection with the Korban Pesach "ve'Hayah lachem le'mishmeres").


Le'hakriv li be'Mo'ado

"be'Mo'ado", 'afilu be'Shabbos', "be'Mo'ado", 'afilu be'Tum'ah'. This teaches us that the Korban must be brought every morning and every evening, even on Shabbos (despite the fact that it entails making a fire and burning the limbs), and even if the majority of the community are Tamei.

And this Halachah extends to all Korbanos whose time is fixed (and which can therefore not be postponed).


Ve'Amarto Lahem

This is a warning to Beis-Din, who are responsible to ensure that the Korbanos are brought according to strict Halachah.



"Two", 'and not four'. Even if for some reason or other, the Kohanim are unable to bring the Korban on any given day, they do not make up for it on the next, in keeping with the principle 'Ovar z'mano, bateil Korbano' (once the time has passed, the Korban is annuled).



Facing the sun, say Chazal. The Tamid shel Shachar is Shechted on the west (of the area north of the Mizbei'ach), the Tamid shel bein ha'Arbayim, on the east.


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